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TAT Home

February 16, 2010 Leave a comment

On Valentines day the Swedish developer The Astonishing Tribe (or TAT) released their new concept video for an Android user interface, called TAT Home, which relied heavily on 3D graphics. TAT is most known for creating the original Android user interface.

While there were a lot of good ideas, there were also bad ideas. Lets start by reviewing the good ideas.

The first thing they show is the Widget Fan, as they call it, it’s basically an easy way to overview and choose your home screens. The thing I like about it, is that one can easily use it using the same hand that’s holding the phone making it easier to handle.
The thing that I liked the most was possibly the Alarm. It uses a new way of setting the time for the alarm clock that I can see being really fast to use when one gets used to it. At first you might be more careful with how many times you spin(?) the alarm, but once you’ve used it for a while you probably don’t even think about it.

What I didn’t like was the Messages Widget, maybe I’ve grown accustomed to the easy way of organizing SMS and MMS with the conversion metaphor, but only being able to see three messages at the time doesn’t seem optimal to me. There’s way too much scrolling with their implementation.
The same critique goes for the Music Remote. If you have several artists and several albums on your phone then it quickly becomes a hassle to scroll between artists and album. It may be a fun and new way to show the music player but it lacks the usability that I need. It would have been fun to see how they would have tackled user-created playlists since I seldom listen to only one album at the time.

When it comes to the Contact Widget, the Weather Widget and TAT Cascades, I’m fairly neutral.
The Contact Widget isn’t something new, the Weather Widget is functions as well as other weather widgets and TAT Cascades can cause a minor problem with the depth perception of the widgets but nothing to worry about.

TAT usually have a lot of great concepts and material so it’s always fun to see something new from them. Maybe their next release might come from two of my seniors from my education that are doing their master thesis work with them., who knows?

//Saligia

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Windows Phone 7 Series

February 16, 2010 Leave a comment

I may be a day late in reporting this but I’m blaming it on the Olympics and the fact that I celebrated a friend’s birthday yesterday.

Windows Mobile was never really an option for me, so when news of the new Windows Phone 7 Series came I got intrigued. Windows decided to kill the old look and feel of Windows Mobile and decided to start fresh with a new mobile OS that feels more like a social phone than their old dated miniature Windows OS.

The home screen feels a lot like a website filled with advertisements and banners, which could be bad but for some reason it feels good and the phone seems more “alive”.

They’ve done some great work integrating social media in your phone in a natural way that doesn’t disturb the user and the way to take advantage of all your media from these social sites and combine them in your phone. I like the fact that all your Flickr and Facebook albums are available on your phone by just going to your photo album tile on the phone. Everything seems really great but at the same time it’s a bit scary to have everything in your phone, at least I know that leaving your phone or computer with friends, while you leave the room for a while, is a big no-no 😛

Another feature that is really nice is the contextual search that Bing, their search engine, uses. By just typing something like pizza the engine automatically knows where you are and can list all the pizza restaurants in your vicinity. Your search is also categorized in 3 different ways from what I saw in their demo, local, web and news.

I’ll be waiting to see more on the new mobile OS before deciding on what my next phone might be, specifically I’m interested in how third-party applications are going to work with the new OS and how developer friendly it will be. But I have to say, that the new Windows Phone 7 Series looks without a doubt really promising, and it was about time that Microsoft got in the game.

You can watch the Windows Phone 7 prototype demo over at Channel 9 MSDN or just go to the official page.

//Saligia

First post, better make it good

February 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Since this is the first post of my new “professional” blog it should set the tone for what’s to come. I’ve thought all week long about what to post without reaching a good answer to what I want this blog to be about. So in the meantime while I continue to figure it out I leave you with this first post.

All good design has to start somewhere, that somewhere is what we call inspiration. Here are some inspirational art and pictures to dust off the right brain and start your creative thinking.

"Black Cloud" by Alex Cherry

A remarkable artist that does really great and gritty art. I’ve used another work of his as my desktop wallpaper for some time now. Even though I really like this work I can’t see how he made this with the Converge song “Black Cloud” in mind. If you only read the lyrics then maybe, but trying to listen to the song and still get this? … doubtful.

"Don't be afraid" by Tahra

Hard to say why I like this one so much, I guess it appeals to my inner child and I start to daydream about fairytales.

"WWF: Lungs" by TBWA\Paris

I find this to be a creative advertisement, I still wonder though why WWF is doing anti-smoking campaigns.

"The Phoenix Rider" by Adam Spizak

Great work and a creative portfolio page, but while the page may be flashy and new it’s still  a bit laggy and impossible to find or search in. The thumbnails repeat themselves leaving the visitor to believe that he has done more than he actually has. Since the thumbnails seem to be ordered randomly it’s hard to find a specific one, he has a nice filtering option that highlights thumbnails that are part of that group, such as illustrations from 2008, but they stay still in the same random place as before.

"The Dark Lens" collection by Cédric Delsaux

The Dark Lens Collection has Star Wars characters and other elements interact with the modern world that we live in. I like how Cedric tries to combine the Star Wars world with our own and make us believe that it’s normal to see droids loiter around an old dirty car or see a spaceship parked at a gas station. It’s not all good, some hits and misses but overall I like it. The website is nifty but very linear with its panoramic build-up. If you want to go back to the start of the portfolio then the easiest way to do that is to refresh the site instead of having to navigate back.

"Midnight Garden" by Tore E. Svensson

A really good Swedish artist and graphic designer from Stockholm.

"91|356" by Leigh Ellexson

Despite being quite young, 16 to be precise, she takes really amazing pictures. She uploads pictures every day and seems to have a mission to do this for at least a year. She’s on day 98 of 356.

"Revelations" by Jimi Benedict

Yet another great graphic artist whose t-shirts you can buy over at DesignByHuman.com

"Endzeit" by Michael Kutsche

A award-winning German artist that has worked on Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” among other things.

"The Colossus" by Kuang Ho

A great fantasy artist with an eye for details in his work.

by Sven Sauer

Development pictures from a movie named “The Volcano”. It’s fun to see how the artists uses real footage and mixes it with CG to create the picture they’re after.

Taken from ACreativeUniverse.com

Simply awesome, enough said.

by Massive Black

An art studio that has worked on games as InFamous, KillZone 2 and Dragon Age: Origin.

"We Still Care" by Edmond Yang

A Norwegian artist that decided to help out in Haiti by contributing with this artwork to a silent auction where all the profits go to the Target Haiti Relief campaign.

That’s  it for now, we’ll see how long it takes until next post, hopefully not long.

//Saligia